By definition, a News Agency is an organisation, which collects and distributes news and information material to be used by the media. Traditional models of news agency formats are those of an organisation that is national in scope, character and orienta-tion. These would perform the following:
Collect and distribute news material from all over the country.
– Present a package version of all events for consumption by subscribers.
– Report on daily events, be they negative or positive
– Project an accurate image by reporting on the positive and negative developments including crises.
– Report from the national angle on events on the international scene that are of special interest to the country.
– Serve as an instrument of national unity.
– Send to interested parties news that will give a correct picture of major events, the problems, hopes, aspirations, plans and achievements of a country.
The news agency would operate through a network of zonal, regional or district correspondents who report on what is hap-pening in their locations. They send their stories by telephone, fax, e-mail or any other quick means to the headquarters for compilation and distribution to clients.
News Agency subscribers, apart from the media, could be or-ganisations, embassies and individuals.
Two aspects are of utmost importance to news agency work. One is speed, and the other is the use of language. The fact that news agencies have to file their stories to the media, calls for further speedy and accurate processing or information.
This is because the media do work under deadlines. For a news agency reporter, every minute is a deadline for a client some¬where and deadlines can not be expanded.
Language poses a significant problem to news agency report-ers, most of who are forced to write in the second or third lan-guage. In most cases, they would conduct interviews in their vernacular, then translate the stories into a national, interna-tional or even foreign language. This calls for the highest de-gree, not only of speed, but also of accuracy. It would be ad-vantageous for a news agency journalist to be proficient in more than one international language, to ensure accuracy, and saves time in writing and filling the news.
The News Agency journalist shall:
– Report the truth
– Give all the necessary and correct facts that make a news story complete.
– Abide by the codes of ethical practices in the trades of photo-journalism, managers/editors and broadcasters.
– Act responsibly with speed in gathering, processing and filling the news.